Should teenagers be allowed to vote?
As 2020 is quickly coming to a close, we have not only had a crazy year, but additionally have seen an intense election season. This has made me question, should the voting age be lowered? I questioned this because of the intense nature of this election season and how many young people went out and voted. Many over the age of eighteen may disagree with this notion, as they can vote. As high school students, however, we may have a different opinion because our thoughts aren’t able to be heard.
Whether you’re a Democrat, Republican, or Independent, one thing most underage voters might be able to agree on is that our voices want to be heard and understood. With social media becoming more relevant in all of our lives, it’s made political research and opinions more accessible.
Due to this, younger generations have become more politically aware and educated than the prior due to a flow of information via the internet or social media. Furthermore, over 100 Conant students were election judges this year, proving that teenagers are interested in politics.
When a teenager turns eighteen they’re able to vote, which portrays the message that the age carries more maturity in and of itself. Is it possible that people under the age of eighteen have intelligent thoughts? Yes, yes it is. These young minds constantly prove themselves worthy of a vote.
Regardless of what some adults may think, many teenagers have very strong political opinions. Many of these opinions purposefully involve situations that directly affect their lives currently or will in the future. In reality, it doesn’t seem fair that someone so close to turning eighteen has to sit back and watch decisions being made by people who might not have the younger generations’ best interests at heart.
The National Youth Rights Association states, “A study of 16- and 17-year-old Americans showed that they are “generally indistinguishable in their capacities to function as citizens and to vote responsibly from the youngest adults (18-year-olds) who are entitled to vote…[and] that to deny 16- and 17-year-olds the right to vote is arbitrary.’” If the difference between 17 and 18 is arbitrary, there’s no reason to cut off seniors who just haven’t had their birthday yet.
Personally, I turned eighteen the day after Election Day and felt it was unfair for me to not be able to vote so close to the election. I think if you turn eighteen within the months of the inauguration you should be able to vote.
Within those few months between Election Day and Inauguration Day, political beliefs aren’t bound to change, and if they do, that just wouldn’t affect teenagers; adults could experience that as well. However, many still would argue that teenagers aren’t mature enough to be able to vote, yet, fifteen and sixteen-year-olds are trusted to drive a car, work a job, and contribute to a community they don’t have a vote in.
The current election is posing many different questions about policies. One decision currently being discussed is college tuition. Why shouldn’t the teenagers, who are about to be burdened with college tuition and debt, be able to vote in order to help with that burden a candidate may want to change? Many seventeen-year-olds have strong opinions on this issue, because it’s something that’s going to directly affect them, but were unable to vote this year.
Being a teenager is filled with many burdens, and we should be able to relieve some of those, such as college debt, with the ability to exercise the right to vote. No matter what side of an issue you’re on, it’s important to make our young voices heard in every way possible, considering we’re unable to vote. It’s important to stay educated and involved in order to fight for what you believe in, even if you can’t vote.